The Canadian One and I
have had no wine glasses in the house. He broke one by accidentally kicking it into the TV stand and I broke…well, numbers aren’t important here but let’s just say, before Saturday, we had none and I’d taken to drinking wine from a plastic Starbucks cup that had once contained a take-out iced latte (ooooh the classiness). But no more!!
Saturday May 5th marked Children’s Day here in Korea. A national holiday which means only one thing to us teachers: a day off school. But alas, this year it fell on a Saturday so no day off. Well, no extra day off.
Not wanting to go to the park / cinema / mall / outdoors in general given that all the parents would be out in force with their little humans spoiling them as it’s ‘their day’, we set out to find something non-child related to do. As it happens, the 10th Annual International Wine and Spirit Expo was in town and was in full swing in COEX (Asia’s largest underground shopping mall) right by our house.
Alcohol? – Check
Cheapish entry? – Check
No under 18’s allowed? – Checkity check check!
We set off at 12:30pm, deeming post noon to be an ok time start the wine drinking, and after a quick jaunt around COEX to find the convention hall we came across random adults wandering a lobby with wine in wine glasses. An unusal sight for a mall lobby so we figured we must be getting close. We rounded a corner and hit the ticket line.
Several moments of confusion later, we were stood before a smily ticket booth lady.
Me: ‘Two tickets. We pre-registered.’
Ticket Lady: ‘You pre-registered? Ok. 28,000won.’
No proof of pre-registering was required and when we went to pick up our passes at the ‘Pre-Registered Booth’, they made us register again. But oh well, we got 6,000won / $6 off each ticket. (It’s usually $20 a ticket so I recommend pre-registering)
Next we picked up our to-be-used-for-tasting wine glasses and we were on our way through the doors.
Inside, we were confronted with a vast range of wine choices. With wine’s hailing from South Africa, America, France, Chile, Australia (honestly, didn’t know they made wine), Spain and Portugal and spirits from Italy and Japan, we wandered aimlessly for 10 minutes looking at booths, observing how other people went about asking for the wine and most importantly, checking that all the wine was actually free.
Pretty soon we de-boxed our glasses and hit up an organic Spanish wine booth for our first taste of free wine.
We based our wine choices on interesting names such as Duck Pond, Moon Cat and Goats Do Roam and intrigue, ‘What’s Czar wine?’ ‘Dunno, let’s try it’ and so we would.
Free wine always tastes better. Doesn’t matter what it is, if it’s free, it tastes better. It’s like the free chili we get at our local bar. We wouldn’t pay for it but since it’s free and we’re usually drunk, it’s the nicest thing in the world!
Now, I drink white and The Canadian One drinks red so between us we manged to taste a wide range of differing wines.
During our wander from booth to booth we came across a wide range of intriguing things from blue champagne to The Canadian One’s first taste of apple cider to a giant wine bottle I took up stalking in an attempt to get a picture.
There was, of course, a few booths dedicated to coffee along with a showing by the ever popular Starbucks. There were people selling ice machines. A appearance by Costco offering membership. An entire area dedication to the ‘World Beer Festival’ which was jam-packed with so many people within two minutes, we bailed and headed back to the wine area.
By 3pm, we were spent. We were tipsy enough to realise no more wine was a good idea and yet not tipsy enough to laugh aloud at the outwardly stumbling people in their fancy business suits.
Overall, I’d recommend the International Wine and Spirits Festival as a good place to hang out to avoid children. Equally, a bar is also a good place to go. A theme park is not a good idea. Nor is a normal park / movie theatre or the streets of Gangnam it would seem.
Worth the money (if you pre-registered) and come on, what better way to kill two hours on a Saturday afternoon than at a wine expo! And, of course, now we have two new wine glasses for me to
break drink from.
To Children’s Day! Cheers!